In honor of Presidents Day (and the sales of all sorts it often brings), we went looking not only for some of the most amazing suites afloat, but the best suite deals. How much does it cost you to cruise presidentially? And even more importantly, how might you snag a deal that lets you and your mates enjoy your best suite life in the biggest cruise staterooms available?
Size is only one factor in determining what makes a suite worthy of being labeled "presidential." Presidents expect only the finest in bespoke design when they travel. They should have privacy, round-the-clock service, luxurious linens, and of course a bathroom supplied with only the finest amenities.
A president's suite by any other name is still a sweet suite. The only cruise line we found to have a top suite with a presidential name is Carnival, with its Excel Presidential Suite, available on Mardi Gras, Celebration, and the soon to launch Jubilee. Most cruise lines call their top suites "owner's suites" rather than "president's suites," which makes them no less presidential. Let's see what it takes to stay in the biggest and best suites -- regardless of what they're called.
Obviously, presidents take foreign trips, but in a Presidents Day tribute to the 49th state, we shopped top suites on 7-night Alaska cruises in July 2024 for an easy comparison. The biggest and most expensive suite we found was the Regent Suite on Regent Seven Seas Explorer, with a cost of $41,999 per person, which is part of RSSC's current two-for-one wave season sale. The brochure rate is $84,998. The suite is a whopping 4,443 square feet.
Because the Regent suite might be deemed as a bit of a budget buster, we decided to scale down our presidential search, looking instead for suites averaging near the thousand-square foot size. We checked suites on Celebrity Edge, Seabourn Odyssey, Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas, Silversea's Silver Nova, and Viking Orion. Suites in that size range on our target Alaska cruise will set you back somewhere around $15,000 on average, or roughly $2,100 per night for an all-inclusive presidential pampering.
Whatever size suite you have your heart set on, you’ll feel better about it if you save a little on your booking. Here’s how to save on any suite.
Suite prices on most cruise lines often come with added perks. Make sure you know what those are when you book. You might save money elsewhere on things like airline baggage fees by taking advantage of onboard laundry services included with your suite. And you certainly don’t want to pay double for Wi-Fi or beverage packages that come with your suite.
Junior or mini suites aren’t all that difficult to find available on short notice, but the bigger the suite, the harder they are to find unless you are shopping at least a year out—not to mention the fact that just searching for vacancies of the most prestigious suites is a challenge. A good agent can help you find availability of the perfect suite that makes you feel presidential.
Suites on the newest ships will not only be harder to snag, but often come at premium prices. Ovation of the Seas is a good example of that. While suites on the newest Royal Caribbean ships are often bigger and more elaborate than on older ships, the Owner's Loft Suite on Ovation is 975 square feet spread across two levels, with an additional 500 square feet of balcony space. We found it priced at only $8,406 per person in July 2024, making it one of the best deals we looked at.
Shoulder season includes those in-between weeks that are not quite busy season and not quite off season. An example would be April, May, September and even October for Alaska cruises. The kids are in school, the weather isn’t quite perfect, and not everything is open for business. But guess what? You’ll avoid the crowds of peak season and you may be able to cruise in presidential style in the suite you snag for the price of a smaller stateroom.
Do you need a second bedroom, or will one bedroom with two baths serve equally as well? A good example is the difference between the Wintergarden Suite and the Grand Wintergarden Suite on Seabourn Odyssey. While “grand” sounds so much better, it’s just the Wintergarden Suite with an adjoining cabin attached. If you don’t need that second bedroom, it can save you over $5,000 per person.
As we found by researching during wave season, even the top suites are priced right when the cruise line is having a sale. Wave season runs from January through March (sometimes with even better pricing during Presidents Day deals in February.) Other suite savings can be found during Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales.
If you have been dreaming of a suite upgrade, some cruise lines have programs that allow passengers in popular staterooms to bid on upgrades — including up to top suites. Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara, Norwegian, and Princess all have programs in place for bidding on upgrades prior to your cruise. Not everyone is invited to bid, and the starting bids may be higher than expected, but there are occasionally deals that can upgrade you to a suite that makes you feel downright presidential. The best advice is to always book a stateroom you’ll be happy with, but don’t forget to check on the upgrade options.
Two of the perks of earning status with a particular cruise line are discounts and notifications about their best deals, including those that get you in a suite. Some lines, like Carnival, even allow you to sign up for their loyalty program before you book your first cruise. You can become a VIFP (Very Important Fun Person) without ever setting foot on a Carnival ship, and it pays to do so.
A good travel agent will do this for you, but it often pays to keep an eye on things yourself. You never know when that primo Owner's Suite you had your heart set on will turn up as available on short notice. Failing that, up until your final payment is made, you may be able to rebook if cruise fares drop from what you paid.
When cruise lines move ships from one part of the globe to another, every stateroom on the ship is a possible bargain. These cruises often have fewer ports of call and lots of days at sea, making them a bit less popular than standard cruises. They also involve one-way airfares, which can be a challenge. Suites on a repositioning route are not only easier to snag, but often come at a substantial savings.